“An all-star cast, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and John Malkovich, come together in this outrageous spy comedy about murder, blackmail, sex addiction and physical fitness!
When a disc filled with some of the CIA’s most irrelevant secrets gets in the hands of two determined, but dim-witted, gym employees, the duo are intent on exploiting their find. But since blackmail is a trade better left for the experts, events soon spiral out of everyone’s and anyone’s control, resulting in a non-stop series of hilarious encounters!
From Joel and Ethan Coen, the Academy Award-winning directors of ‘No Country for Old Men’ and ‘The Big Lebowski,’ comes this brilliantly clever and endlessly entertaining movie.”
“Burn After Reading” is rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence.
This film has a great ensemble cast. A standout among them is Brad Pitt as Chad Feldheimer. He’s a socially inept jock that is as clueless as he is energetic. You can tell Pitt revels in playing the role and every time he’s on the screen he steals the show. Also notable is John Malkovich as Osbourne Cox. He’s incredibly arrogant and filled with rage. Put him and Chad together and you have comedy gold. George Clooney is appropriately slimy as Harry Pfarrer (I have a theory that you shouldn’t trust any man that wears a gold chain. This reinforces that.) Frances McDormand is also interesting as Linda Litzke, a woman so obsessed with her looks and searching for happiness that she can’t appreciate what’s right in front of her. It’s amazing how far she’s willing to sink in order to get plastic surgery. I also loved seeing David “Sledgehammer” Rasche and J.K. Simmons as CIA agents. Their confusion over the entire situation provides hilarious interludes and exposition in between everything that happens.
I gave this film a lower (yet still positive) rating because the overall story was just ‘eh’. A whole lot happens off of the screen, too, which would have been fun to see. Combine that with the dramatic changes in tone and it’s not as good as some of the other Coen films.
“Burn After Reading” is funny, but expect it to get quite dark. Fans of the Coen brothers should enjoy it as well as fans of any of the ensemble cast.
This DVD is surprisingly light on the bonus features. There’s a short ‘making of’ featurette, a featurette on the casting, and a video on George Clooney. It’s fun to listen to, but it feels all too brief.